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Tier and conjugate methods - review and comparison

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  • Tier and conjugate methods - review and comparison

    A S/C friend sent me links for learning how to program using Joe Kenn’s Tier system and advising for me to utilize more moderate rep schemes for muscle growth since I’ve been plateaued for several months on SS and BBM intermediate program cycles.
    I couldn’t find a previous thread on this forum discussing these methods and comparing them to BBM. I’m learning that everything works but nothing works forever. So Tier, conjugate and BBM seem to be the most adaptable long term programming concepts I’ve come across as they continually mix exercises/variations, rep schemes, intensity and overall volume. I would also be interested in other programming methodology’s that do a good job mixing these variables and showing results.

  • #2
    We're not familiar with this "tier" system, unfortunately. We'll see if anyone else around here is.
    IG / YT


    • #3

      never heard back on this. Link above is all the info on how to use tier programming.


      • #4
        I'm vaguely familiar with the Tier System. Isn't it basically a mashup of HLM and conjugate for people who play real (i.e. non-barbell) sports? To my understanding, the "tiers" are exercise slots. Instead of "Heavy - Light - Medium" it's "Max Effort - Volume - Dynamic Effort" and you're filling each of those tiers/slots with a full body (cleans, snatches, etc.), lower body (back squats, front squats, etc.), and upper body (bench, OHP, etc.) lift each workout. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong or if my understanding is too basic.

        Have you experimented with this training methodology at all since your OP? How did you implement it? What were your results?


        • Rallylizard
          Rallylizard commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi Nate, you’re understanding tier from a decent level. It’s a periodization system, which I’ve found helpful. I run it in 4 week macro cycles; base week, load week, deload, then performance (or max effort), and I’ve chosen exercises geared more on compound lifts than sports application (DL, squat, bench, OHP). In a nutshell most of your month is spent getting in the volume needed to get stronger with an attempt at the end to see if you can PR some things. I don’t think in practice is much different from many other systems, but I’d love to hear Jordan and Austin comment on the differences between it and their programming. For starters, tier tends to go for higher weight once you’re warmed up and then fill in volume (back off sets). Ex: The templates I’ve bought from BBM go up from the warm up into working sets typically in a rpe 7; 8; 9 order, or some variation of that pyramid (lighter to heavier). Where I feel taxed by the time I’m doing my rpe 8 or 9 set, and it therefore isn’t as heavy as it would have been had I done rpe 9; 8; 7.
          Background: I started a few years ago with mike Matthews bigger leaner stronger, that led me to starting strength and running the LNP, which eventually led to Texas method at which point Jordan and Austin went their own way to BBM and I ran the bridge a couple times and variations of their intermediate programming. I’ve been running two different macro cycles of tier for 22 weeks now. I hit plateaus with SS Texas method and my BBM templates, a friend who works with a professional sports team sent me info on Joe Kenna Tier method for me to try. I’m still making PRs during performance week with my tier programming and I’ll find out after next week if I’m still on that path. I’m understanding everything works but nothing works forever, so I’m starting to realize there isn’t a perfect program, but rather several great programs operating on similar concepts that work. There’s a lot of nuance here that I think Jordan and Austin could touch upon when comparing what they do to other proven programs out there. Not in a “they’re wrong we’re better”, but how they are similar and different , yet all still effective. Maybe even why it’s not a bad idea to switch programming or if they feel there’s mitigates plateauing and why.

      • #5
        I strongly recommend reading or listening to podcasts by Mike Tuchscherer, RTS, and his Emerging Strategies system. It’s not a template or program, more like a philosophy. The central theme is to follow the athlete’s response to training based on the data you collect during training (sets, reps, load, RPE, etc). If something is working, keep doing that until it stops working. When it stops working, make some logical changes based on the evidence you have collected.

        The reason I recommend this is that it helped me frame my understanding of programming when I had a lot of the same questions that you posted here.